COPUS Ideals

Science informs but it doesn’t impose. Science is a tool everyone can use. Science empowers us to answer questions and helps us solve problems, big and small. Science belongs to everyone.

As members of the COPUS community, we consider and care about the needs and perspectives of all people. As such we….

  • are obliged to seek and respect all people
    Our best efforts begin with an understanding of the diversity of the public interests, beliefs, convictions, doubts and aspirations as well as the need for information and each individuals’ power to advance knowledge.
  • focus on “science as practice,” that is: science as a way to understand and engage with vital matters in our lives, communities and the world
    Our best efforts make current scientific practice as accessible as possible, through plain, clear language and by allowing individuals to experience the joys and frustrations of authentic investigations.
  • commit ourselves to promoting the essential features of science
    Our best efforts reveal the character and results of science by revealing the assumptions, values, methods of investigation, and standards of proof as well as defending the peer-review and public inspection of results.
  • strive to enlarge opportunities for all to advance knowledge
    We respect every citizen’s power to apply and advance scientific knowledge in their lives, as well as know its limitations. In this way we commit ourselves to supporting scientific and academic freedom in all places and nations.
  • recognize the efforts and achievements of those who practice science
    Our COPUS community reveals its best self and most heartfelt beliefs by its support of those who endeavor to practice science, especially among the youngest members of our communities.

We believe that all persons begin their lives in their infancy and childhood acting as “scientists” do and that this condition gets eroded and changed, all too often, by the practices that we use to teach formal science and mathematics.

Thus we strive to support educational and cultural practices that increase the possibility for all persons to think scientifically throughout the entire course of their lives.

We believe that the practice of science reflects the values of America’s “founders” who, as natural philosophers, were practitioners of what we have now come to call science, as were the farmers, merchants, inventors, explorers, and others, who worked to create our democracy,

Thus we strive to uphold these traditions and, by so doing, we commit to advancing science, democracy, and the human condition.

Inspired by these ideals, COPUS leads to an understanding and practice of every individual’s right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications, as enumerated in Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Prepared by Natalie Kuldell, President at The BioBuilder Educational Foundation, Instructor MIT Department of Biological Engineering and David Burns, executive director of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement
Fall 2013